Biomineral repair of abalone shell apertures


Cusack M, Guo D, Chung P & Kamenos NA (2013) Biomineral repair of abalone shell apertures. Journal of Structural Biology, 183 (2), pp. 165-171.

The shell of the gastropod mollusc, abalone, is comprised of nacre with an outer prismatic layer that is composed of either calcite or aragonite or both, depending on the species. A striking characteristic of the abalone shell is the row of apertures along the dorsal margin. As the organism and shell grow, new apertures are formed and the preceding ones are filled in. Detailed investigations, using electron backscatter diffraction, of the infill in three species of abalone: Haliotis asinina, Haliotis gigantea and Haliotis rufescens reveals that, like the shell, the infill is composed mainly of nacre with an outer prismatic layer. The infill prismatic layer has identical mineralogy as the original shell prismatic layer. In H. asinina and H. gigantea, the prismatic layer of the shell and infill are made of aragonite while in H. rufescens both are composed of calcite. Abalone builds the infill material with the same high level of biological control, replicating the structure, mineralogy and crystallographic orientation as for the shell. The infill of abalone apertures presents us with insight into what is, effectively, shell repair. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Abalone; Aperture; Shell repair; Calcite; Aragonite; EBSD

Journal of Structural Biology: Volume 183, Issue 2

Publication date31/08/2013
Publication date online24/05/2013